Space Calls! BCA hosts escape room sessions

Students “escape” from stress of the semester with Board of Campus Activities

By Vee Glessner, Chief Copy Editor

This year has been an unusual one for happenings on campus, but the Board of Campus Activities (BCA) has made the best of it with virtual events and activities. On Friday, Oct. 9th the organization hosted its major in-person event of the semester, a team Escape Room activity.

Groups of up to 6 students registered to escape from one of two themed rooms, Space Calls or The Philosopher. They had 25 minutes to complete their respective tasks in the rooms by finding clues, decoding hints, and solving puzzles. 

In past semesters, BCA has put on lots of comedians, musicians, and other performers, but they had to get a little creative this fall. “A few years ago we actually had Escape Rooms, so it wasn’t the first time and we wanted to bring them back,” said BCA Director Moe Angulo. 

With the ability to sanitize the rooms between groups and enforce mask-wearing, Angulo was confident they could put this event on safely. “This was the only event that had COVID-19 procedures while other performers did not feel comfortable traveling,” he said. BCA used the service Campus Escapes by Kirkland Productions to put on the event. 

Escape rooms are a great activity for team-building and just plain fun. “The experience felt full and satisfactory even though it just clocked in at around 30 minutes. I honestly really liked it, and hope that I have an opportunity to do it again,” said player Thorne Wolfenbager.

The themes can have silly premises, but the challenges in an escape room are unique and often very puzzling. The Philosopher is based on a scenario where a student sends an embarrassing email to a philosophy professor by mistake, and the group needs to break into their office to delete the message. “You’ve only got 25 minutes before he’s back for office hours — his angriest time of the day. Can you do it?” says Kirkland Productions’ description of the theme.

The Space Calls theme presumes the players are a group of astronauts on a malfunctioning spaceship returning to Earth. They must interpret hints and messages in the spaceship to discover the secret passcode which will allow them to course-correct and save their scientific data (and themselves). As Kirkland Productions puts it: “Houston, we have a puzzle.”

The Philosopher is rated at intermediate difficulty, while Space Calls is rated novice. “There were multiple teams that escaped Space Calls, and a lot of teams came close to escaping on The Philosopher, but only one team made it out,” says Angulo.

The event was a raving success among students who played. “The escape room was a great way to gather safely with friends. It was a fun, on campus activity. After a week of classes, I was happy for a study break!” said player Bria Booth.

Player Gabriel Pulido says the escape was “unexpectedly challenging and exciting, especially considering the space theme of the room. I loved the creativity and immersion the theme brought to the event, and the fun use of props.”

According to Angulo, “Students came back to the check in table to tell us that they had so much fun and would do it again. Some wished they could register for another slot but unfortunately all slots were booked.” The escape room event was quite the success, and BCA plans to put on another in the Spring.

Stay in the loop on Board of Campus Activities events by following their Instagram, [@prbca].